Ford has already promised us an all-electric F-150, and now, to prove to The Truck People that EVs can be Tough and Macho, The Blue Oval brand put together a PR stunt involving an F-150 prototype towing over 1 million pounds worth of train cars. Watch this EV pickup tug.
The video shows the F-15o’s chief engineer Linda Zhang presenting the company’s F-150 EV prototype to a handful of Ford truck owners. First, she demonstrates that the vehicle can tow 10 double-decker freight trains (that together weight over 1 million pounds) for 1,000 feet at roughly 4.5 mph. Ford’s team then loads the train cars with 42 modern Ford F-150s, and Zhang tows the now-1.25 million pound load for another 1,000 feet with what looks like relative ease:
I bet that was a lot of fun, even if it is a classic PR stunt that we’ve seen many times before. There was the Volkswagen Touareg V10 TDI that towed a nearly 342,000 pound Boeing 747 back in 2006:
Then, of course, there was the Toyota Tundra that yanked a 292,000 pound space shuttle in 2012:
Then a Mini showed off its little Mini Electric yanking 300,000 pounds earlier this year:
Over the past few years, Land Rover has done this same stunt, yanking an over-240,000 pound Australian road train with its Discovery in 2017:
And hey, even the little Discovery Sport managed to pull nearly 240,000 pounds, though unlike the Discovery (and like the F-150), it has the advantage of towing a vehicle that rolls on rails, which offer significantly less rolling resistance than tires.
And last year, using a Tesla Model X, the airline Qantas yanked a 787 and managed a world record for towing with a production electric passenger vehicle at 287,000 pounds of load according to CNN:
This F-150 tugging test is fun, and does demonstrate that the machine’s structure can handle significant loads. Plus, it shows that the truck’s powertrain and drivetrain—thanks in large part to gearing—can produce and sustain enough tractive force at the wheels to accelerate the enormous load against rolling resistance, bearing friction, and other sources of drag. That said, this kind of thing has been done many times, and it’s frankly not particularly useful.
Even if this F-150 yanked more than what we’ve seen in similar stunts.
What would be more impressive, to me, would be the EV F-150 prototype completing the SAE J2807 towing test—conducted at reasonably high speeds in high temperatures up a steep grade for a long distance—with 12,500 pounds of trailer dangling off the back. Sure, that’s only 1 percent of what’s towed in this video, but it’s just more useful information that would matter to real-world customers.